- (Photo: WTSP Screenshot)
The husband of former Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, whose role in determining the outcome of the 2000 presidential election drew national attention, was found dead on Tuesday.
Anders Ebbeson, a 68-year-old Swedish businessman, is believed to have committed suicide. Harris and Ebbeson married in 1999.
Those close to the couple said that they believed that recent health issues may have influenced Ebbeson's decision.
"Anders had been suffering recently. He had a health condition, health issues... he dealt with those," Sarasota First Baptist Church Pastor William Hild told WTSB. "They had become increasingly a part of his life, having to deal with those."
But Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino declined to give more information about the suicide, telling USA Today, "We're asking the community respect the family at this difficult time. Mrs. Harris wanted the community, her family and friends to know that her husband is no longer suffering."
Harris, a Republican, played an important role in the Florida recount in the 2000 context between George Bush and Al Gore and was responsible for halting several recounts. Prior to her role as Secretary of State, she served in Florida's Senate from 1994-1998. She also served won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003.
Harris' friend Graci McGillicuddy said that Ebbeson helped to ground Harris.
"He was her rock. Katherine was the public person, he was her solid rock, the wind beneath her wings," she told WTSB.